Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Parade

Check out this great shot of the Spofford Pond School Marching Band in the Boxford Memorial Day Parade. Thanks to Lannie Foster for sending me the photo.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Joy and Kindness at School

I recently read a blog post that I came across through my online Personal Learning Network (PLN), entitled “Three,” by Kirsten Olson. In her post, Ms. Olson proposes three answers to the question, “What must we do to transform schools into places of authentic, democratic learning?” Kirsten’s answers are:
  1. Adults in school should experience joy in learning every day.
  2. Teaching should be organized around learning, not controlling children, testing students, managing institutions, providing employment for adults.
  3. Schools should be kinder places.
After each of her answers Kirsten explains a bit and then writes, “Think of how that might change things for kids.”

Kirsten’s first and third points really hit home for me. When I think about schools and teachers, I often focus on their attitude and tone. I look to hire teachers who talk about liking children and being enthusiastic in class. While evaluating teachers, I often use this phrase from the Professional Standards for Teachers in the Boxford Public Schools, “Conveys knowledge of and enthusiasm for his/her academic discipline(s) to students.“ In other words, the teacher acts like she likes being at school.

I also often write in evaluations that a teacher, “Builds positive relationships with students and parents to enhance students' abilities to learn effectively.“ As important as skills and knowledge are to being a good teacher, a teacher’s attitude towards learning and towards the children is just as important and maybe even more so.

During the last three years, we have talked about the Fish philosophy. To sum it up, we should all do the following to make our jobs and our lives

I am lucky that so many teachers that I’ve worked with embody this attitude. Now, if the rest could as well.

Think of how that might change things for kids.

Saturday, May 22, 2010



Three simple letters, more learning than I ever thought possible.

PLN. Personal Learning Network.

Before Spring 2009, I had never heard of a PLN. I knew all about PLC, Professional Learning Community. PLC describes a style of collegiality in schools that is focused on teachers (professionals) working together to improve learning. PLN is different.

A PLN is personal. It is my learning network. My PLN is entirely online. Through twitter and a number of blogs, I have gathered dozens of principals and other educators who want to share. My PLN is always sharing resources and opinions. When I have an education question, I can ask my PLN. Within minutes, I get responses from multiple perspectives. You see, this group is scattered around the country (and the world), across grade levels, and throughout the opinion spectrum.

I have two main ways to connect with my PLN. First is through Twitter. In the Spring of 2009, I signed up for twitter purely out of curiosity. At that same time, I read an article that mentioned school principals using twitter to increase communication. So, I searched for other principals who used twitter. Right away, I found a small group who wanted to converse with other principals. The learning had begun. You can follow me on Twitter: @fliegs is my user name.

My other way to connect with my PLN is through a variety of education blogs. Right now I follow 37 educational leadership blogs. Some post every day, some post just a few times each year. The great thing is that I get to read the opinions of principals on a huge range of topics. I use Google Reader to organize all of these blogs (and a bunch of non-education related blogs).

So, my PLN provides an enormous amount of information and communication and has become one of the best ways for me to stay on top of new developments, news, and opinion about education. If you are interested in starting your own PLN I can help. Just let me know.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Sky Full of Poetry

Check out this example of third grade poetry. Better yet come in and see for yourself.

- Larry Fliegelman

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spofford Pond Site Council Positions Available

Dear Parent,

Please take a look at the attached information about joining the Spofford Pond School Site Council.

We need you.

Thank you.

Posted via email from Principal's Page attachments

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Dragons! Have Finally Come to Life

Previously, I posted photos of Dragons under construction here and here from Ms. Dalton's sixth grade class. Here are some of the finished works:

Picture This! Six Room Poems

We have been alive with poetry recently. In the fifth grade hall, this fantastic set of poems with accompanying art work caught my eye. Once I stood there and red the poetry, I was blown away. You've got to come in and read what our children can write.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Rainbow over Spofford Pond School

As I left school to head over to Masco for the Band Concert, I noticed this gorgeous rainbow over the school. A sign of the wonderful music to come or just a gift from Mother Nature? Either way it was a nice treat and the concert was wonderful.

- Larry Fliegelman